View from Lebanon of Israel-Hezbollah Conflict Hundreds have died in Lebanon since Israel began its military operation against Hezbollah militants last week. Freelance photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair talks with Alex Chadwick about her photos of devastation from Israeli airstrikes.
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View from Lebanon of Israel-Hezbollah Conflict

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View from Lebanon of Israel-Hezbollah Conflict

View from Lebanon of Israel-Hezbollah Conflict

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Stephanie Sinclair is an American photographer living in Beirut. We first spoke with her ten days ago for our Photo-Op feature about a photo essay she had done for the New York Times Sunday magazine on Afghanistan. Now she has a half dozen pictures of Lebanon up at

Click on the programs button and go to DAY TO DAY, because suddenly Stephanie finds herself at the center of the biggest story in the world. Stephanie Sinclair, welcome back to DAY TO DAY. How long have you been living in Beirut, and why did you settle there?

Ms. STEPHANIE SINCLAIR (Photojournalist): I've been here about two years. And I came here, ironically enough, to take a break from all the violence in the Middle East. I'd been working in Iraq for a long time, and Afghanistan and in Israel, and I just thought it was a nice - you know, beautiful place, and, you know, that was slowly recovering from the civil war. And I wanted to be part of this community as they rebuilt. But now we're having a slight surprise that's making things a little more difficult.

CHADWICK: What is it like now? How is life in the city? I mean, you haven't decided to evacuate. Well, you're a journalist. I guess you need to be there, but still.

Ms. SINCLAIR: Things are tense. I mean, I think people are starting to get a little bit used the bombings every day, which is, you know, strange how the mind does that. And, of course, I'm a journalist, so I'd like to stay. And I've spent two years here, so I would like to, you know, be part of telling this story, you know, particularly because I have Lebanese friends with families and things like that. And I've considered this my home.

But it's pretty scary at times. I mean, you know, even in the Christian neighborhoods today, a truck was hit by an air strike. And so, you know, no place is really 100 percent safe.

CHADWICK: You've been shooting for Newsweek, and you are trying to tell a journalist's story, but this is the city where you live. Is that changing things for you?

Ms. SINCLAIR: Well, it's definitely a unique perspective. I mean, it's something that I haven't done before. I mean, every time I've gone to cover some sort of conflict, it's been, you know, like the other journalists. I've just kind of gone in and been there to record what I see and then I can go home.

But now I have cats here and plants and things like that, so it's - and friends I'm very close to that are, you know, having to evacuate their children up into the mountains or wherever. And so it's definitely a perspective I have not had before. And, you know, it hurts more in some ways to watch this happen and to see the businesses that I frequent closed now, and knowing how much the Lebanese have tried so hard to rebuild their lives, and seeing how it can kind of go away so quickly.

CHADWICK: You've been shooting in hospitals over the last week.

Ms. SINCLAIR: Yes. I've been - well, I've been to a couple of hospitals, you know, just to kind of get an idea of the civilian casualties that are happening. This story's a little bit hard to cover, because, you know, you can't really prepare for where to be for an air strike or where not to be and stuff like that, as well.

So I've gone to a couple of hospitals. You know, they're definitely working hard, but I have to say that the air strikes have been relatively precise. So, you know, there have been less casualties than I expected, though there definitely are some.

CHADWICK: You've seen a lot of air strikes in the course of your working life over the last ten years or so. And you're saying that, well, compared to other combat situations, this does seem more controlled.

Ms. SINCLAIR: I mean, definitely as far as the air strikes, because I've seen bridges where they wanted to hit one specific bridge, and neither building on either side of the bridge was hit. But of course, it's not going to be like that 100 percent every time. And there, you know, there was a family in the south that was trying to flee, and they - like 15 members died or something like that.

So, I mean, there's definitely casualties that are not, you know, intended, but you know, I have to say that there have been places that they said they were going to hit these bridges and they've hit those bridges exactly. So, and this truck that they targeted today, they hit that truck. So that was definitely -you know, myself and the other journalists have all kind of noticed that this has been happening.

CHADWICK: Stephanie Sinclair, an American photographer in Beirut, speaking with us again on DAY TO DAY. Stephanie, thank you so much and good luck there.

Ms. SINCLAIR: Thank you very much.

CHADWICK: Stephanie sent us some pictures. They are at Click on the programs button and go to DAY TO DAY. And there's more on DAY TO DAY just ahead.

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